From the Great Resignation to the 4-day work week, to 20% of retirees over 50  returning to work, today’s job-market and daily workplace have changed drastically. Now, a new term has emerged: shift shock.

What is shift shock? Is it Bait and Switch?  Is it unfulfilled promises and expectations?

Today, millennials and Gen Z employees make up 46 percent of the US workforce. According to a recent Muse survey,  72% said that they’ve regretted accepting a new role after starting it—even those who considered the role to be their “dream job”. New hires experience shift shock when they start a job and realize that the role or company is very different from what they were led to believe. Who does that in today’s world; make promises and offers that can’t be met?

Companies are facing even more problems with employee retention. A large percentage feel it’s acceptable to  leave a new job before 6 months Some are leaving after 2 months. Usually new hires gave it at least a year, not any more.  Why should they if they were misled?  There is a new term called called boomerang employees who make up almost  1/2 of those dealing with shift shock and they want their old jobs back.  Something about the term the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

Is your head spinning yet?

Why is this happening?  As the Great Resignation lingers and companies continue to hire for remote positions, more and more new hires are experiencing shift shock because of poor expectations, not feeling included because they are remote, not having the same benefits as in house staff and the list goes on. Remote employees need to have very clear expectations and an understanding of benefits as well as and more importantly be included in some way into the company culture. They need to feel they belong!

What should the company, managers and co-workers do?

Obviously the first step is being transparent and clear about expectations and deliverables.  Remote workers are not a new entity but Covid did exacerbate the situation. Being able to work full time remotely or even in a hybrid has been a great gift for many people, me included. I am lucky, my clients and I knew what to expect in our interactions.

Role Expectations

Whether it’s about responsibilities, salary, benefits, working hours, or work place policies , it’s crucial to be upfront with candidates about role expectations during the hiring process. This starts with job descriptions. Clearly stating what a role entails in the job description will immediately help convey expectations. What will the person’s day-to-day look like? Is it a 9-to-5 job or is your company flexible with schedules? Is the role in-person, or can the employee work remotely full-time?

Once candidates advance to the interview stage, it’s imperative to reiterate these expectations. Walk them through the role and ask them if they have any questions. Doing so will make sure you’re on the same page with no surprises if you end up hiring them—This not only increases the chances of them staying at your company, but also helps set them up for success.

In some cases I have suggested  employers  do a one week paid tryout to see if the potential employee is a good fit and if potential employee  likes what they see.  It saves a lot of time and well as improving retention.

Company Culture Expectations

While the role itself has a huge impact on whether a candidate accepts an offer,  company culture is also important.  One third of candidates would pass up the perfect role if the organization’s culture wasn’t a good match. Another study found that 32 percent of employees who had left a job within the first 90 days listed company culture as the reason.

How do the new hires relate with all aspects of the organization?  Do they have mentors and/or specific people who can connect them with others and guide them?  Do they fully understand how business is done?

Here’s the big question; when managers meet with remote or in house employees do they only discuss business or do they get to know the person?  Learning what an employee values and enjoys helps to show that person as a whole is important  and helps foster a positive relationship, which leads to better performance.

If adaptability is important make sure that is a known value and expectation  The more willing people are to learn and adapt to what’s being asked,  the more likely they are to succeed. Adaptability was rated as one of the most important skills for employees by LinkedIn. Cross functional teams, in which each person can do the other’s job helps the organization and makes remote employees feel more included.

Has the new hire been put in the right position for their skills. Are they able to use their abilities? There are many times when you may find great talent, but ultimately their skills aren’t being used in the right way. In these instances, leadership needs to recognize that “re-casting” talent to a new role better suited to their strengths may bring out their star power. This tells the individual that they are “seen”  and valued for their talents.

Use employee referrals as they can be extremely helpful. It’s likely that candidates your employees refer share similar values and are looking for the same kind of culture—which decreases the chances that they will experience shift shock and increases the chances of them staying at your company.

To reduce the great resignation and now shift shock is to be upfront and honest about the position and the culture.  It’s important for everyone to know if and how they will fit and if they will stay. This is a new way to do business and needs to be truly embraced.